Why #MeToo Is Scaring Men Off From Dating, According To A Guy

It’s clear that the #MeToo movement has been effective in giving women a voice to confront their abusers, but it’s probably also left a lot of you wondering where all the good guys have gone. We’re still here, we’re just struggling to cope with the current dating climate.

  1. Everything we grew up with is wrong. If your dating pool includes men ages 25 and older, then chances are we grew up surrounded by media that highlighted, humorized, normalized and glorified the sexual assault of women. The sexualization and objectification of women have been a constant in media aimed at a male audience for decades, and most of it has been widely accepted in its time. Trying to be better men isn’t as easy as anyone would like, and there are few examples that appeal to men that would show us how to change.
  2. There’s a lot at stake for us. Guys often have no idea how women prefer to be approached, and trying to figure out the best way is a guessing game that many of us are horrible at. But in the event that we get past the first steps and things make it back to the bedroom, there’s a lot for us to worry about the next day. “Did she really want to or was I just overbearing? What if she regrets it and tells me three weeks from now?” A sexual assault allegation could easily land a guy a criminal record or social shame once the accusation is made, even if the offense was totally unintentional. Many of us are choosing to stay single instead (or just get back with our exes).
  3. Liquid courage is toxic. You may not often think about it, but there are a lot of grey zones when it comes to intimacy. If a guy and a woman are both drunk and decide to have sex, one of them is committing rape—and that’s determined by who makes the claim first. Meeting at a frat party, office holiday party, or even just in a bar or nightclub is a highly risky move for men these days. You don’t have to be sloppy drunk to be considered unable to consent. It’s as simple as a few shots and a cocktail. A woman may feel fine and look normal but she could easily be legally unable to consent, regardless of what she says.
  4. We can’t atone for the past. Despite how decent we might be today, there’s a high chance that there’s a #MeToo situation in our pasts somewhere. Maybe we hooked up with a drunk chick in college when we’d had a few beers too. Maybe we were too sexually forward with a classmate before being turned down. Maybe a woman slept with us because she felt pressure because we were good friends. These may seem like dismissible instances to some people… until they come up years later. The problem is, there’s no way for men to make peace with that past, particularly in the public eye. How do we go about admitting that we might have been a part of the problem years ago? I say “might” because it’s up to the woman to decide whether or not it was a problem. There’s not a path to make amends without facing public ridicule at best and jail time at worst, so owning up to past misdeeds seems like a lose-lose. Many good guys are stepping away from the scene to reflect on who we’ve been and who we’ve become. That leaves women stuck with horny jerks on the prowl.
  5. We fear backlash for being honest. Obviously, most men aren’t at the level of celebrity canceled by the general public—we don’t have sponsors or advertisers to worry about losing—but every time we see a relatable celebrity get thrown under the bus for sexual misconduct, it makes us think, “Dang, they’re going at him for that? That could be me.” Granted, no decent guy is looking at Bill Cosby or Harvey Weinstein with compassion, but when we see the backlash Ben Affleck got for trying to be an ally, it’s easy to feel like we can’t catch a break. Rather than hop on the support train, many men are sitting this one out.
  6. We’re not mind readersOne of the common talking points that comes up is non-verbal communication. Is she creating space? Does she seem relaxed? Is she dropping hints? More times than not, we don’t know. There’s no uniform standard for non-verbal communication, and everybody sends (and receives) signals differently. Going back to our place might signal to him that you’re interested in intimacy while you may think nothing of it. Likewise, checking your phone might be her signal that the date’s coming to a close, but we might see it as a harmless habit. We’re not much better at reading the non-verbal signs than we are at guessing where you want to get dinner. We need to hear the words.
  7. The workplace isn’t an option. On average, people are spending a third of their adult lives at work, surrounded by the same people day in and day out. Eventually, a handful will become “work hot”—attractive in the workplace in comparison to the surrounding people. But unless we want to get better acquainted with HR, we’re likely to avoid the risk unless we can find a non-aggressive way to ask a woman out that won’t put our jobs in jeopardy. Most companies have a dating policy on the books, but that doesn’t offer much for men. Plus, while women often hate turning down the same guy more than once, they also don’t find men who give up so easily very attractive. Adam in sales might really be interested, but the last thing he wants is to end up as the office D-bag because Sarah didn’t like his approach.
  8. Nobody’s teaching us what’s right. Despite all of these reasons, men still want to pursue women and we want to be successful at it. We hear you loud and clear with every #MeToo story that comes out, but nobody’s really telling us how to be better from the get-go. There are plenty of media personalities building audiences telling people “how to treat your woman,” but very rarely does anyone explain what to do before the relationship begins. Women can spend an hour telling us what not to do, but never really explain what we should do. If you can tell me 50 ways not to make a lightbulb but can’t tell me one way I can make one, then I’ll still be left in the dark.
is a forward thinking journalist willing to question conventional thinking and face the tough topics head on. With a wide knowledge base, Nick is well of wisdom across many topics. You can read more of his work at www.BlackTexasMag.com